Learn Chinese words about feeling bad

Sad Moon

Moon Taking Pity on the World

Another year is slipping away, this one having been particularly challenging for many of us. Life does not promise us sunshine everyday; we must sometimes deal with hail, thunderstorms, floods, fires, diseases and pandemics. Therefore, this seems a good time for us to familiarize ourselves with a few Chinese words that pertain to pain, sadness, disappointment and other negative feelings.

不舒服 (bú shūfú) could mean not feeling well physically or feeling uncomfortable emotionally.

我今天不舒服, 不去上班了.
Wǒ jīntiān bú shūfú, bù qù shàngbānle.
I’m not feeling well today, so I won’t go to work.

他说约翰的坏话, 我听了心里很不舒服.
Tā shuō yuēhàn de huàihuà, wǒ tīngle xīnlǐ hěn bú shūfú.
He spoke ill of John,and I felt uncomfortable about it.

To feel is 感觉 (gǎnjué) or 觉得 (juéde).

他不能与朋友相聚, 感觉孤单以及郁闷.
Tā bùnéng yǔ péngyǒu xiāngjù, gǎnjué gūdān yǐjí yùmèn.
Not being able to get together wtih friends, he feels lonely and depressed.

期末考快要到了, 他觉得很紧张.
Qímò kǎo kuàiyào dàole, tā juédé hěn jǐnzhāng.
The final exam is near; he feels very nervous.

她嫉妒我的成绩比她好.
Tā jídù wǒ de chéngjī bǐ tā hǎo.
She is jealous that I have better grades than she.

我后悔没有接受他的建议.
Wǒ hòuhuǐ méiyǒu jiēshòu tā de jiànyì.
I regret not having followed his suggestion.

今年的销售量低, 颇令人失望
Jīnnián de xiāoshòu liàng dī, pǒ lìng rén shīwàng.
This year’s sales are low, quite disappointing.

他失业了, 前途茫然.
Tā shīyèle, qiántú mángrán.
He lost his job, and his future is uncertain.

她不敢去看电影, 怕得到病毒感染.
Tā bù gǎn qù kàn diànyǐng, pà dédào bìngdú gǎnrǎn.
She is afraid to go to the movies for fear of getting the virus.

她讨厌插队的人.
Tā tǎoyàn chāduì de rén.
She despises people who jump the queue.

天黑了, 他还没回来. 我有些担心.
Tiān hēile, tā hái méi huílái. Wǒ yǒuxiē dānxīn.
It’s getting late, but he has not yet come back. I’m somewhat worried.

如果他出了事, 我们会很伤心.
Rúguǒ tā chū liǎo shì, wǒmen huì hěn shāngxīn.
If something happens to him, we will be very sad.

When you are sad or worried, try singing a song, such as “Worried Man Blues” presented at the end of Chapter 25 in “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“. It just might make you feel better.

Sometimes things are not as bad as we think. As a Chinese saying goes:

天下本无事, 庸人自扰之.
Tiānxià běn wú shì, yōngrénzìrǎo zhī.
Nothing is the matter with the world, except in one’s own imagination.

天下 (tiānxià) means land under heaven, or the world.
(běn), as used here, is the abbreviation of 本来 (běnlái), which means originally.
庸人 (yōngrén) refers to an average person.

And suppose the world is actually riddled with problems, like the pandemic and unrest we are experiencing, we could hope that the pendulum will soon swing the other way. This is what the Chinese refer to as 否极泰来 (pǐjítàilái), namely when misfortune reaches its limit, things will start to look up.

圣诞快乐, 新年如意!
Shèngdàn kuàilè, xīnnián rúyì!
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

 

Chinese word for gifts or presents

Christmas Present 圣诞礼物

Christmas Present 圣诞礼物

圣诞快乐!
Shèngdàn kuàilè﹗
Merry Christmas!

Christmas is a time for sharing, giving and charity. The Chinese word for presents is 礼物 (lǐwù). (wù) are things or substances. (lǐ) is used in a number of words that cover a range of meanings – ceremonies, rites, courtesy, manners and etiquette, gifts and presents.

典礼 (diǎnlǐ) is a ceremony or a celebration. 礼堂 (lǐtáng) is a place where such rites or ceremonies are carried out, e.g. an assembly hall or an auditorium.

物品 (wùpǐn) are articles or goods. Therefore, items offered at a ceremony, for a celebration, or for courtesy, are called 礼品 (lǐpǐn). 礼品 (lǐpǐn) and 礼物 (lǐwù) both refer to gifts and presents. Customarily, you would use 礼物 (lǐwù) when talking about a gift or a present that you give or receive. You would use the more formal word, 礼品 (lǐpǐn), when referring to the gift items in a general sense.

我送给苏珊一盒巧克力糖, 作为圣诞礼物.
Wǒ sòng gěi Sūshān yī hé qiǎokèlì táng, zuòwéi shèngdàn lǐwù.
I gave Susan a box of chocolates as Christmas present.

送礼 (sònglǐ) means to present a gift to someone. 回礼 (huílǐ) and 还礼 (huánlǐ) mean to give a gift in return. As 行礼 (xínglǐ) and 敬礼 (jìnglǐ) mean to formally salute someone, 回礼 (huílǐ) can also mean to return a salute.

婚礼 (hūnlǐ weddings) and 葬礼 (zànglǐ funerals) are the ceremonies one will likely have the occasion to attend a few times in life. For the former, monetary gifts are to be enclosed in red envelopes, while for the latter, white envelopes are normally used.

礼拜 (lǐbài) is a religious service or worship. 做礼拜 (zuòlǐbài) means worshiping at a church, which is called a 礼拜堂 (lǐbàitáng) or a 教堂 (jiàotáng). The days of the week are often referred to as the days of worship. For example, 礼拜六 (lǐbàiliù) means the same as 星期六 (xīngqīliù), which is Saturday (the sixth day of worship).

洗礼 (xǐlǐ) means baptism. It also refers to a severe test (of one’s character, ability, etc.).

We’ve previously come across the word 礼貌 (lǐmào politeness or manners). 有礼貌 (yǒu lǐmào) means polite and courteous. 没有礼貌 (méiyǒu lǐmào) means impolite or rude. The formal word for being ill-mannered is 无礼 (wúlǐ), which is not to be confused with 无理 (wúlǐ unreasonable, unjustifiable).

那位服务员没有礼貌.
Nèi wèi fúwùyuán méiyǒu lǐmào.
That waiter has no manners.

非礼 (fēilǐ) means showing disrespect.

赔礼 (péilǐ) is to offer an apology. It means the same as 道歉 (dàoqiàn). If your kid has offended Mr. Wang, you could say:

快去向王先生道歉!
Kuài qù xiàng Wáng xiānsheng dàoqiàn!
Go apologize to Mr. Wang right now!

子曰: 衣食足而后知礼义.
Zǐ yuē: Yī shí zú érhòu zhī lǐ yì.
Confucius said, “Only after one is fed and clothed can one be expected to observe propriety and justice.”

Here, (Zǐ) refers to 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ Confucius), and (yuē) is the classical word for “to say”.

(yī) are clothings and (shí) are foods.
(zú) means to have a sufficient amount of something.
而后 (érhòu) means after that, or then.
(zhī) means to know or to be aware of.
(yì) means justice or righteousness.

Confucius served as an adviser to a number of rulers in his time. Much of what he said thousands of years ago still rings true today.

Sing “I am a Cloud” in Chinese

Cirrocumulus Clouds (Mackerel Clouds)

Cirrocumulus Clouds (Mackerel Clouds)

The traditional Chinese character for clouds is (yún). Like (diàn electricity), it lost the “rain” radical in the conversion to the Simplified Chinese character set.

In classical Chinese (yún) means to say or to state. In the Simplified Chinese character system, it means clouds.

The clouds, suspended in the sky or moving freely above, out of reach, ephemeral and unfathomable, is often compared to the transitory nature of certain human affairs. It also represents freedom and a carefree state of mind. The term 风云人物 (fēngyúnrénwù man of the day) likens prominent personages that command people’s attention to the powerful movement of vigorous winds and clouds.

(xiāo) means clouds or the sky. Therefore, 云霄 (yúnxiāo) refers to the skies. 九霄云外 (jiǔxiāoyúnwài) means beyond the highest heavens or skies.

有你在身边, 我把一切烦恼抛到了九霄云外.
Yǒu nǐ zài shēnbiān, wǒ bǎ yīqiè fánnǎo pāo dào le jiǔxiāoyúnwài.
With you by my side, I cast all my worries to outer space.

戒心 (jièxīn) means vigilance. Therefore 把戒心抛到九霄云外 (bǎ jièxīn pāo dào jiǔxiāoyúnwài) means to throw caution to the winds.

烟消云散 (yānxiāoyúnsàn) means to vanish into thin air. You could use this phrase to describe an interest or desire, the memory of a certain event, or the disintegration of an entity.

The phrase 过眼云烟 (guòyǎnyúnyān) likens worldly possessions, such as riches and fame, to transitory clouds and smokes.

我们的那段情不过是过眼云烟..
Wǒmén de nèi duàn qíng bùguò shì guòyǎnyúnyān.
That love affair of ours was nothing but a passing waft of smoke.

天有不测风云 (tiānyǒubùcèfēngyún) means something unexpected may suddenly happen just like a storm may abruptly arise out of nowhere. This line is paired with 人有旦夕祸福 (rényǒudànxīhuòfú), which means that one may find good fortune or go to ruins overnight. When you hear of a misfortune befalling a movie star or an acquaintance, you would shake your head and say:

天有不测风云, 人有旦夕祸福.
Tiānyǒubùcèfēngyún, rényǒudànxīhuòfú.

All right, here is a popular song, titled 我是一片云 (Wǒ shì yī piàn yún I am a Cloud), sung by 凤飞飞 (Fèng Fēifēi). This short song expresses in simple wording a common sentiment. Don’t we all wish to be as carefree as a cloud?

The lyrics in Simplified Chinese can be found here.

(zhāo) is the classical word for morning or day. (mù) is the classical word for evenings or sunset. We’ve come across these words in the phrase 朝朝暮暮 (zhāozhāomùmù day and night, or all the time).

If you remember from one of our early lessons, (shēng) means to go up or to elevate.

自在 (zìzai) means at ease and being comfortable with oneself. 潇洒 (xiāosǎ) means carefree and unrestrained, like a splash of water.

我的男朋友英俊又潇洒.
Wǒ de nánpéngyǒu yīngjùn yòu xiāosǎ.
My boyfriend is handsome and cool.

(shēn) is the abbreviation of 身体 (shēntǐ body or health). In this song, this word refers to the body.
(suí) means to follow.
(hún) is the soul or the spirit.
(mèng) are dreams.
(fēi) means to fly.
无牵挂 (wú qiānguà) means without worry or care.

You might also be interested in watching a couple other related videos. In this one, the singer dedicates the song to a fan. In the introductory remark, the singer told her fan that although her album may have given the latter the courage to continue with life, it was the doctor’s skills that saved the fan’s life. The tears in the singer’s eyes reveal genuine feelings from the heart. At the end of the performance the singer encourages her fan to continue to be courageous and strong – 继续勇敢坚强. (Jìxù yǒnggǎn jiānqiáng.)

The video at this link shows a number of the singer’s fans singing this song together. Why not join in the fun?

The versatile bamboo

Bamboo painting by my mother with verses added by my father


It was freezing wintertime, and this kid’s mother was gravely ill. She asked for a bowl of bamboo shoot soup. The kid, whose name was 孟宗 (Mèng Zōng), and whose father had died a few years before, wanted to please his mother, but everyone knew that bamboo shoots normally cease to sprout during winter. In spite of it, he went outside, hoping to find any bamboo shoots that might have come up early. The bamboo stems stood proud and firm against the winter wind that rustled the slender bamboo leaves. The heels of the bamboo plants were buried under deep snow, and no bamboo shoots were to be found. 孟宗 (Mèng Zōng) felt sad and helpless. He started to cry. The copious tears melted the hearts of the gods who let the snow melt at a few spots to expose the early bamboo shoots. 孟宗 (Mèng Zōng) dug up a few bamboo shoots and made a delicious soup for his mother. Miraculously, after drinking the warm bamboo shoot soup, his mother got better and eventually recovered from her illness. This story is known as 孟宗哭笋 (Mèng Zōng kū sǔn). You probably already know that (kū) means to cry, and you may have seen the word (sǔn bamboo shoots) on the label of a can of bamboo shoots.

So, we have 孟宗 (Mèng Zōng) to thank for being able to enjoy what’s known as 冬笋 (dōng sǔn winter shoots), which are smaller and crunchier than the regular summer shoots. There is a city in Taiwan, named 新竹 (Xīnzhú), that’s famous for its 贡丸 (gòngwán pounded meatballs) and its fresh bamboo shoots. If you ever visit 新竹 (Xīnzhú) in the summer, be sure to fetch a few young and tender bamboo shoots from the local market. Simply boil, peel and slice the bamboo shoots then add a dollop of mayonnaise and enjoy the incredibly fresh, sweet taste. A bowl of soup that incorporates both the 贡丸 (gòngwán) and the bamboo shoots is something to dream about.

Chopsticks were traditionally made from bamboo, hence the name, 竹筷 (zhú kuài babmoo chopsticks). To refer to chopsticks in general, just say: 筷子 (kuài zi). Quality chopsticks make an auspicious gift for newlyweds as (kuài) sound the same as (kuài), and the implied message is: “Have a son soon!”

Bamboo is also used in making a wide variety of other products, notably writing slips, the body of calligraphy brushes, brush holders, flutes, arrows, conduits, crates, furniture and even dwellings. Naturally, most of these words take on the bamboo word root, as shown in the following examples. Notice how this word root looks a lot like the bamboo leaves in the painting displayed above.

(jiǎn) means simple, as in 简单 (jiǎndān) or brief, as in (jiǎnduǎn). It also refers to the thin bamboo slips on which letters or notes used to be written.
簿 (bù) refers to notebooks. Bookkeeping is called 簿记 (bùjì).
(piān) refers to a piece of writing or a chapter in a book.

你喜欢这篇文章吗?
Nǐ xǐhuān zhè piān wénzhāng ma?
Do you like this article?

(bǐ) is a pen. 毛笔 (máobǐ) is a calligraphy brush.

(tǒng) is a section of bamboo. The bamboo stem is hollow in the center and sectioned at intervals by dividers. Each section makes a perfect pencil holder or brush pot, 笔筒 (bǐtǒng).

(dí) is a flute.

(jiàn) are arrows, and 箭筒 (jiàntǒng) is a quiver.

(guǎn) is a tube or pipe. It also refers to a wind instrument. As a verb, it means to manage or to bother about something.

不要管他.
Bùyào guǎn tā.
Let him be. (Never mind him.)

(xiāng) is a box, a chest or a trunk. 箱子 (xiāngzi) is a general term of a box. A leather suitcase is called 皮箱 (píxiāngi). A refrigerator is called 冰箱 (bīngxiāng ice box).

(lán) is a basket. This character looks similar to (lán), which uses the grass word root instead of the bamboo word root.

竿 (gān) is a pole, and 钓竿 (diàogān) is a fishing rod.

聖誕快樂﹗
Shèngdàn kuàilè﹗
Merry Christmas!

(Click here and read the 12/6/11 blog post to get the pattern and instructions for making beauatiful poinsettia napkin ring holders to brighten your holiday dinner table.)

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